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Energy up the chimney

Largely overlooked by the insulation industry, chimneys are a hidden source of energy savings
Don't let your energy up the chimney

Lancaster University recently teamed up with Cumbria eco-firm Chimney Sheep Ltd to find out how much energy escapes up the chimney – and how much we could save if we insulated them.

Chimney Sheep Ltd manufactures and sells an innovative energy-saving chimney draught excluder. Made of felted sheep wool, the Chimney Sheep fits snugly into the chimney throat just above the fireplace and prevents warm air from escaping up the chimney when the fire isn’t lit. It also prevents cold air from sinking down.

An overlooked issue

Chimney Sheep recently celebrated five years in business, and sales have grown steadily year on year. The company had the product tested by BSRIA, which demonstrated that it saves around 260kg of CO² per chimney per year.

While chimneys are a major source of heat loss in properties, they are largely overlooked by the insulation industry. Costing around £25, a Chimney Sheep will save around £50 a year off the heating bill.

Home comforts

As owner and inventor Sally Phillips observes, however, the main incentive for buying a Chimney Sheep is to increase comfort in your home.

While customers aren’t always motivated to reduce energy in the home, the incentive to improve their comfort has the consequence of reducing their carbon footprint.

As part of Lancaster University’s ongoing work with local businesses, the Centre for Global EcoInnovation team calculated the cumulative carbon savings of Chimney Sheep sold over the years.

Sales have topped 40,000 but some sheep have been working for five years while others have only been in situ for a matter of months.

The results show that not only does fitting a Chimney Sheep make the home more comfortable, they are making considerable carbon and financial savings.

Chimney Sheep

‘Customers report having warm feet at last! We don’t necessarily notice the warm air escaping up the chimney, but that warm air needs to be replaced and pulls in cold air from around doors and windows, and even right through walls. Somehow it’s the cold draughts at ankle level that are the hardest to banish – until people block the chimney, and that’s when they really notice an increase in the comfort of their homes.’

Owner of Chimney Sheep Ltd

Carbon and cash savings

In five years’ sales from September 2012 to September 2017, Chimney Sheep have helped customers to save 19,856 tonnes of CO² and have saved households across the UK £2,895,793.

This total carbon saving is the equivalent to the CO2 sequestered by 23,388 acres of forest in a year. With nearly 11 million chimneys across the UK
the potential carbon savings from blocking the chimney are significant, and could make a real impact on carbon savings nationally.

Click here to read more about the Chimney Sheep in our interview with Sally Phillips.

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